A Sociable and Creative Gardening Journey

Following on from yesterday’s social gardening post, I was thinking about the actual technology available to us to extend our sociability and creativity.

As gardeners we look and learn from what is literally growing around us, we read about techniques or new developments, we taste a new vegetable, we see a flower in bloom – maybe an unusual colour or leaf pattern attracts us. Technology makes looking over the garden fence even more accessible.

Sitting at my computer I can access hundreds of thousands, no let’s make that millions of gardens. And all aspects of gardens and gardening, from a rooftop terrace in Mexico, to a courtyard in Israel, a terrace in Hong Kong, a community garden in Cuba, a wilderness in Alaska or a formal botanical garden in Sri Lanka. They are all there. Along with the plants, the tools and the people.

I can pick up ideas, watch things literally grow before my eyes, I can see for myself how they grow, their look and share in the pleasure of the gardener or the visitor.

And taking my creative, sociable and technological thoughts a step further I was thinking about my journey through it all, me as a gardener and thought about Gardening and the Web, it’s development and my journey

  • From the early shaky homespun web sites onto vast resources at the BBC or shopping online whether it is seeds from a specialist nursery in the US or tools from Portugal
  • Forums and online magazines to ask questions, to form a community, to share information
  • Watching videos on YouTube of how to make a paper pot
  • Flickr and creating an online photo albumn of the seasons
  • Onto blogging with diarising and sharing your thoughts from your garden
  • To Twitter and following and asking questions, making light of the ugly tomato you have grown at home
  • Facebook and sharing links to interesting articles or gardens you have visited
  • Pinterest and the scrapbooking of your favourite design ideas

The commonality is they are all social and sociable. There are communities and groups sharing and talking of their passions and interests whether its food or art, cars or films, in my case gardening and the food we sit down to eat every day.

As I’ve said previously I created my blog to capture my garden and a part of my life. Through that I’ve made immeasurable connections and joined and shaped a community. The blog is my personal record. I’m beginning to think outside of my work, to consider my dreams again. Where they lead I don’t know. But technology is a part of it.

Have you see the cupcake analogy? I think it’s apt!

I’ve yet to try Instagram, but have to giggle about the cupcake analogy!

I’ve bypassed YouTube, I can’t ever see me making films, way to inhibited for that! I tried Flickr but didn’t really settle with the idea – an online photo albumn is fine in its own right but I realise that without the words, the photos don’t work for me. Next up I joined Twitter, to find out what was happening out there, to follow and see how it all works. The jury is still out – I haven’t found a rhythm there yet, not quite sure where I belong. I’ve recently set up a Facebook page to record, I’m don’t know yet – ideas or photos that don’t “sit” on my blog, links to articles or things I’ve seen, maybe some quotes, who knows.

And then there came the day I signed up for a Pinterest account, to see what all the noise was about. I couldn’t work it out at first, why pin photos and links, isn’t that all about who you want to be not who you are now? Then it twigged I could use it instead of my Favourites file on Internet Explorer – see something I want to make at home, pin it! Nice and tidy, visual and available. So far it’s mostly recipes that I pick up from my fellow bloggers, salads and cakes, drinks and snacks that someday I want to make and try for myself. An online home for my recipe folder.

And yet I still carry a notebook, for ideas as I walk, or sit on a train, an address or name that comes up in conversation and if I remember to, to note when and where I planted something. Pen and paper is still my first port of call. My camera (whether it’s the biggie, the pocket digital or my phone) are always with me to capture a moment a sight or an idea.

Social media has allowed me as a gardener to literally be more sociable, Marie described it as sitting round a campfire telling stories, I love than analogy. And all the while it’s letting me explore my creativity. Capture my moments and moods, my life and my dreams.

Do you tweet, like or pin and if so why? I’ve dutifully set up the links on my blog, clicked on those that have them on theirs. But I’m wondering why I am!  Is it to explore the new? To join in to be part of the crowd? To find a way to express yourself? All of those things…..

We have these amazing tools at our hands in Social Media and we have the creative human.  A heady mix if ever. And I wonder what next for the sociable and creative gardener? What will technology bring me next?


  • And for a non-gardener like me, your participation in this blogging world teaches and inspires those like me who are not exposed to the wonders of a gardening patch in “real life”. 🙂

    • Aw thank you! Words like “inspire” are amazing words, and words I neve rexpect to hear, thank you – and look at all these amazing connections we make, you with technology me with a spade 🙂

  • Love the analogies!! I blog, Facebook, and if course surf the web. Haven’t tried the others. I am happy technology let’s us reach out to other, similar minded people. As always, beautiful photos!!

  • Interesting article! I agree that it is wonderful to be able to see into others’ gardens from around the world and connect in a way that would be impossible without the internet. That said, I still find books in paper form and talking to people physically around me an immense and useful resource and do not wish to be consumed by technology. So, while I do post my latest blog entries on Twitter I rarely actually go onto the site to see what anyone else had tweeted about. In short, I don’t want my life to be consumed by the virtual world.

    • “I don’t want my life to be consumed by the virtual world.” so true, so true !! It’s trying to find a balance isn’t it between the technology and the living of life.

  • I loved them especially your tomatoes… you are amazing gardener, writer and photographer. Thank you, have a nice weekend, love, nia

  • Another thoughtful post… I can’t quite figure out Twitter, either. Right now, I just use it to nag my son long-distance, and see the Paris photos David Lebovitz posts 🙂
    I’m terrified of even trying Pinterest – I have a feeling it might take-over my (sparse) free time!

  • I still use notebooks a lot. No facebook or pinterest for me (yet)… more of a time factor than anything! I think we link to others through “like” buttons and so on simply because it is human nature to interact, and we have these particular media at hand. A thought-provoking post Claire… 😀

  • I am stuck between the old and the new – I love the art of writing and love making lists and have lists of lists and then there is the bit of interaction on FB and I do have a Twitter account but only log on to tweet my motivational daily quote which I do on FB as well. I find people tweet too much and it’s incredibly boring trying to scroll through pages and pages and pages and pages -well you get the idea, whereas FB is a bit more personal I guess.
    Have a beautiful weekend.
    🙂 Mandy xo

    • Totally with you on the twitter thing Mandy, I find it difficult to keep track of a conversation in twitter which I think is why I’m not so keen on it either. And then peopl eseem to tweet about 10 messages all at the same time, which I find dull.
      just as well we have found our blogs eh:)

  • What an interesting post Claire! I started to blog so that I could record my plans, achievements and disasters in the garden… and I’m so pleased I did as the wonderful support and advice from fellow bloggers is immeasurable. I don’t use twitter, facebook or anything else but a couple of months ago I started to use Pinterest as my scrapbook collection was overtaking my home – it’s so much easier to have a virtual scrapbook!!
    I LOVE the photo of fennel that you’ve posted x

    • It’s been fascinating to read everyone elses views and experiences on social media, your included. I think it’s about finding a balance and what is right for you. I think the connectivity in blogging is astounding and precious.

  • Beautifully said! I garden in my backyard, often quite alone. But I have a very large social community based around gardening, both in cyberspace and my neighborhood Growing food easily brings people together.

    • I love notebooks Karen, and have way too many. I’m a bit like a kid in a sweet shop when it comes to notebooks – their covers, the lines or squares, the potential! In fact I tell myself I’m not allowed to buy anymore until I use all the ones I have at home….. and then I just spy the pretiest little notebook and I’m off 🙂

  • This is a great post with thoughtful content and beautiful illustrations (those veggies look delicious!). I love how social media has made the world a smaller, more accessible place. There are some drawbacks (such as the time-consuming nature of being so social and “connected”), but I think the benefits outweigh the costs overall. Blogging and Facebook are the most beneficial to me, and I’ve recently started using Twitter. Blogging connects me with interesting people I’ve never met, and Facebook keeps me in touch with those I’ve met but don’t see often.

    • “Blogging connects me with interesting people I’ve never met, and Facebook keeps me in touch with those I’ve met but don’t see often.” I think this is where I am going to with FB, it’s how I started using it in the first place, then thought oh I should have a FB page for my blog, but why? What does it add. FB is a great way to keep track of friends, but blogging gives me the room to write and share. Thank you so much for popping in and sharing too !

  • I so enjoyed this conversation, Claire. I get very enthusiastic about popping in to see your garden, your methods and successes, the recipes you share and life in general, so far away from where I live, but I feel like it’s much closer. To me it is enriching.

    I love Pinterest…why? It takes little time, but it’s a great way to almost scrapbook my ideas. I do go back and retrieve recipes and things I’ve pinned. I’ll have to find you! I didn’t notice, but did you put a “follow me on Pinterest” pin on your site? Facebook is a staple, although I’m a bit tired of it. And Twitter…yes, I tweet. Very awkwardly. I can’t yet get the rhythm of it and I don’t think I understand the social rules. I might even be a pest…I’m working on that! 🙂 Have a great weekend, and I’ll look forward to more of your “diarising.” Love that word! D

    • Morning Debra, I did eventually put Pinterest and FB follow buttons here – on the right hand side, but I’m not all together sure why!! What am I like? What I’ve enjoyed so much is reading everyone elses responses, hearing about what they do or don’t do. As ever the conversation enriches my life. Hope you have a super week Debra

  • It really is quite amazing, isn’t it, how things have changed in just the last twenty years? I am able, simply through the blogs that I follow, to gain inspiration and insight from gardeners in Florida, Arizona, California and Maine, and around the world to Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland, and your lovely allotment, Claire, in England! Thank you for another thoughtful post!

    • And thank you for your comments Cindy! Without these connections I’d be writing in a void, blogging has brought me out into the world and I’m able to see and share so much more. Thank you again Cindy!

  • Good observations, Claire! We seem to take everything for granted, and forget the journey that took us to our gardening meccas! And too funny about the cupcake chronology! I’m out of Twitter and Facebook, tried it .. yawn! Pinterest is fantastic! And Stumbleupon is such fun!!!

    • I signed up for a Stumbledupon account but never made much use of it, maybe it’s time for a re-visit. And “yawn” that’s so funny and true at the same time 🙂

  • Love all about this post … the photos .. brilliant – love cupcakes, but I want them naked – love to look at all the prettiness on them, but not to eat. I have never fancied a garden – I love other peoples gardens .. but that’s it. Probably because grandma forced me to all that garden jobs as kid – hated it … The photo of the dill crown is my favorite. Have a great weekend.

    • Naked cupcakes 🙂 Isn’t it interesting what our lives give us, I know many people who were forced by parents and grandparents into the garden, and to this day it still holds no appeal to them. But there you are a fantastic cook and traveller and liver of life, plenty of room in the world for everyone !

  • That load of freshly harvested veggies is so lush! What a summer bounty! I’m inspired to prepare a pot of curry with those veggies! Social media can be addicting. I can only dip in toes into the frenzy with my sporadic blog posts and Twitter. I remain committed to having time to live in the present!

    • One of the things that is coming through loud and clear is that people are finding a balance with social media, and the desire to live in the present is so important. Thanks fo ryour contribution Deb, it’s appreciated !

  • I tried Facebook a long while back. Did nothing for me. Recently I subscribed to twitter but again, it’s not conducive to long newsy chats with people who want to chat with you about each others’ doings. Blogs … are a LOT of work.

    I prefer my LJ account. But it’s really designed to works best with other LJ owners that you friend. You can see what they’ve done whenver you open up your LJ by clicking on Friends and respond very easily.

  • I love this thoughtful post about social media and I enjoyed the cupcake analogy. Like you I signed up for loads of things but in some of them I am very much feeling my way. I agree about the creative heady mix – I think each of the differing new media outlets teaches us something and perhaps makes us look at the world in a different way. Altho I have to say I have my fingers and toes crossed that no one dreams up something new for another wee while as it takes me an inordinate amount of time to write a blog post a post a few pics on tumblr and instagram …

    • I know what you mean about wishing for a lull in development of new technology and social media to give us time to get to grips with what we have! And I appreciate your thoughts and comments on this heady mix we have at our fingertips !

  • Your writing inspired me a lot. I definitely think that gardening a great way how to meet people. In person or online. It´s exactly as you wrote – kind of outdoor social networking sites for nature lovers. I participate in sharing gardens project in Canada and I have to agree, that it is simply amazing when the lovers of nature meet, talk and share their ideas. Or as in my case they help others with their plants. Meeting them in person is one thing, but the idea of people sharing the results of their hard work through Pinterest, Flikr or even Tumblr makes it even more appealing. As you said, now people all around the world can see what you´ve done with your own hands.

    • Thank you so much for popping in! I love your words “outdoor social networking” so apt. And how wonderful you can participate in a shared garden, I know I’ve learnt so much from stepping outside of my garden onto an allotment, the bonus being making new friends. But social media enables me to extend that beyond my literal boundaries and location. Thanks again !

  • Hi there! Love this post…it is so true that technology has opened up some many more ways of sharing and learning for gardeners. I actually struggle between being on-line (reading blogs, looking at pictures, pinning,etc…) and spending time outside physically being in the garden. It seems to be a pull between the real thing and the technology at times! I FB and Pinterest and started a twitter account but have never sent a tweet yet! Time is a factor for me but I absolutely love the inspiration I find when learning and seeing what other gardeners are doing.

    • There’s a huge pull isn’t there between reading and writing about gardening and actual gardening itself, I know like you my time is precious and is often torn between the two !
      It seems Twitter doesn’t appeal very much to those who have left comments, I think it’s tricky to follow conversations and really develop ideas. And thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, I never stop being fascinated and I never stop learning

  • Fantastic post and obviously a discussion stimulator! As a web developer by day, I’m incredibly choosy about what I do online in my own time. I’m not naturally drawn to technology outside of my work (and am very paper and pen-centric), apart from where it can really help me (ie research at any time of day on whatever I’m interested in). I adore blogging and the community that I’ve discovered in doing so, and that it pulls me out of being a natural introvert. I’m still a bit ambivalent about ‘likes’ in WordPress; if I like something, I feel I should have something to say, and so I tend to do both. It’s the conversations, however small, that really get me excited, and discovering people who have a neat take on something or a different perspective. I did love discovering that a blog post of mine had been pinned on Pinterest, but can’t imagine actually figuring it out to use it (though it seems very cool).

    Loved the dill photo, by the way!

    • And thank you for taking the time and energy to comment and share your thoughts and expereinces. The Like facility is odd – I particularly dislike the auto-generated likes that people have running, a real slacker and cheap way to generate “hits” – so empty and shallow. In fact I might just have to moan to WordPress about them again !!
      On the positives, I’m also in It and so spending time at my computer can be a bit tiring, but like you I enjoy the connections and the conversations we create and develop, and I love the fact that I have no real idea where it’s taking me !
      And thanks again for popping in and for the compliments, I’ve left the Dill / Fennel to flower, something for me to look at and something for the insects to enjoy 🙂

  • I am not going to start pinning! These may be my famous last words as I said that about twitter as well! Now I’m a tweeter 🙂

    • ha ha so funny Tandy, are those famous last words 🙂 I don’t get on tweeting, can’t find a rythm to it, I shoul dtake alook at what you are up to and see if it inspires me ! Hope you are having a super week !

  • The cupcake analogy is super. I just don’t know what to do with Pinterest. My blog tweets automatically but otherwise I am not much of a Twitterer. Thanks for the wonderful post. The complementary colors of peppers were a nice shot, too.

    • Isn’t the cupcake analolgy hilarious !! and thanks for sharing your thoughts and for the kind words about the pepper photos, my partner insisted I took those shots as he said they were as perfect as could be….

  • Love your post!!!! Yes, I blog, but not Facebook (I have lost friends to that world–they have been sucked up by the screen and can’t get out) Pinterest ate my day, I had to step away… Twitter I admit I just don’t get it?! Instagram–hmmm I’m interested, and I always carry a little notebook in my bag, and a kindle and magazines!

    • I think these things can suck you up Stacy, I guess it’s about trying to find a balance. Facebook does keep me in touch with friends around the world, so that’s a real bonus – sharing a quick word or a photo is so much easier. But you know what I miss those letters, witha foreign stamp on them, and news of a life away, aahhhh pen and paper !!

  • Social media has brought to where we are today. It is a love hate relationship with me as I like the connection it gives but yet sometimes it can just be overwhelming and in the end I just enjoy cooking and don’t want to loose that in the sea of technology or time on it. I love your cupcake analogy and that picture of dill is just stunning. If it was not for social media, I would not have met you….Take Care, BAM

    • Isn’t it wonderful that we met through our shared interests in food – be it growing or cooking BAM ! I love your words “love-hate relationship” so true, there are days when I don’t know whethe rto write about gardening or actually do it, and I haven’t written about food or shared a recipe for weeks ! Time to get back into the kitchen this winter! Hope you have a great week !

  • It’s fun to play with ways of communications–and each place is different. Some places can be mean and some kind and supportive.

    • Hi Alice, when I started out blogging I’d read about a lot of problems, negativity and harsh words, I was rather timid and took it on in trepidation. I’m so relived to have found it is none of those things, but that is down to the amazing people I’ve met. Simples !!

      • That has been my experience with blogging–kind and fun. Facebook has been horrid–people post the most thoughtless things sometimes–it’s okay to disagree, but respect needs to be there too. I’ve played around on Tumblr, Blogger, Twitter, websites,–all different purposes, formats and audiences. Wheee–can’t wait to see what’s next!

  • I enjoy the different cultures created in the different spaces. People are kind and supportive here. Facebook is how I keep up with my extended family and old classmates. Pinterest is just trouble. So many shiny things to pin to do later that can keep me from actually doing things. Google+ is great for actual debates and differing opinions on politics, religion, child rearing, and other topics better left off Facebook. Twitter…I have one. I appreciate its uses in rallying people behind a cause. It isn’t for me so much. I am glad to have found this community. Kindness and support on the internet are less common in my experience, but seem ever-present here.

    • Kinddness and support do seem prevelant here in blogworld don’t they, I wonder if that is the subjects we cover (food, gardening, life etc) or it’s the people – that as foodies and gardeners we like to share and encourage?
      I see what you mean about Pinterest! And I haven’t dippe dmy toe into the Google+ waters yet,….
      And what you say about Twitter getting behind causes seems spot on, not that I’m a great supporter of many causes, which propbably explains my erratic use of twitter !!
      And thanks for your thoughts and expereinces, the responses to these posts have been fantastic, so much to learn and read

  • At last WordPress is allowing me to comment! I joined Facebook to see what my kids were up to, now I chat to friends and family all over the world. I blog and have met lots of lovely like minded people and Pinterest is useful for keeping all my ideas, inspirations etc together. I have really enjoyed these last couple of posts xxx

    • Phew I’m pleased WordPress has let you in 🙂
      Like you I joined Facebook to keep in touch with my neice, then it spread to friends around the world – it’s great for a quick note or photo, a way to keep in touch with a few words and little time !!
      And thanks for popping in and sharing your thoughts on social media – we all have so much to share and learn don’t we

  • wonderful post, I love the way you’ve explored what social media means. And I LOVE the cupcakes. How interesting that judging from all your comments that so many gardeners blog, or that so many bloggers are gardeners!

    • I think gardeners like to share – whether it’s a cutting or some seeds, or their experiences, we are always learning and I think maybe bloggingand social media compliment that. And thank you for dropping in and sharing your thoughts, the responses have been fantastic reading, and I think the cupcakes have proved a hit 🙂

  • I blogged a wee bit about this a while back. I only sometimes feel that I’ve become “disconnected” even though I’m more “connected”. Occasionally I wonder if I spend far too much time on these social networking sites and not enough time in the “real world”. Yet, when I try to abstain from blogging and especially reading blogs.. I feel that my life is really missing something. Here we are today learning from each other in one blog post. I love blogging.. and those who have never blogged certainly wonder about the draw. I think it is such an awesome opportunity to create, meet, and experience wonder together. It’s such a positive experience.. unlike many events in life. xx Smidge

    • Thank you Smidge for sharing your thoughts and expereinces. You’ve expressed so well so many of my doubts and concerns and experiences (the positives!! ).
      I know what you mean about missing out on reading blogs, I often wonder ho wmy blogging buddies are, what they are doing, what treat they have in store for me. It’s a rich life and it’s richer for blogging. I guess it’s about finding a balance, and only you know the balance. Wishing you a great week Smidge and thanks again !

  • Better late than never — great post. October will mark my 6 month anniversary of exploring social media — and I was planning on posting a review of the process. Your photo of the different social outlets and the respective examples was PERFECT. Each of the formats I’ve explored has been interesting — mostly positive and some negatives, but it’s still fun to learn. Sometimes I feel the world is changing so rapidly, and I don’t want to be left in the dust — and so we learn new ways of thinking and communicating. Thanks for a very thoughtful, smart post.

    • He, he a “smart post” (I’m thinking of my not so smart use of my smart phone 🙂
      I think you have hit on something there Kevin, about social media being something fun to learn, I don’t think any of us would be doing this if it wasn’t fun. I’m looking forward to reading what you have to say on reaching your milestone, I’m been terribly lazy about milestones, but I know you will bring something different and fresh to the proverbial table/garden !

  • I think I’m on the same page as you… haha. In real time I still carry 2 mini notebooks in my purse and online I love the blog but FB and Twitter I’m pre-menopausal with erratic, random postings. I love the concept of pinterest and instagram but frankly it starts eating away at real life sometimes and I try to keep a balance.
    How did it go finding guest posts? Still need any? You know you can copy and paste HTML of a whole post. That’s how I did it at least. cheers 🙂

    • erratic random posts – sums up a lot abot FB and twitter, I dislike the posts where people make a statemnent so as to generate a question, if you have something to share share it! But it does enable me to keep in contact with friends abroad, regardless o ftimezones, and time available!
      I think I will always have a notebook and pen, especially as I now blog, I nee dto jot those ideas and thoughts down as they enter my head otherwise they get totally forgotten about!
      and thanks Wendy for asking about how I’m getting on with the guest blogging – so far so good, but I do appreciate your offer of help. If you fancy doing a post you’d be mor ethan welcome to take a promenade 🙂

  • How the social media handled the cupcake will become a classic, Claire. Although I was the classic web browser, looking up all kinds of things, blogging has given me some direction in my searches. Your description of gaining access to the World’s gardens is spot on. Who knows where else this technology will take us but I’m sure it will be one heck of a ride.

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